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The L Suite’s Exclusive Data: General Counsel Salaries and Compensation Trends

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Wondering how your general counsel salary stacks up against your tech company peers? Review GC salary and pay data at startups.


  • Kiran Lingam



The L Suite publishes comprehensive salary reports every year, including details of tech general counsel and chief legal officer compensation packages across private companies, public companies, and venture capital (VC) firms.

To access the full reports, including detailed breakdown by industry, company size, and stage, general counsels can apply for membership with The L Suite.

“While our venture fund has access to certain comp data sets, it’s very useful for me to have access to (The L Suite) TechGC’s unbiased report, which often has higher numbers.”

Member, The L Suite | TechGC

For general counsels eyeing a raise or career move, salary-sleuthing can be a maddening trip down the digital rabbit hole. Twelve hours, six social media sites, and 50 browser tabs later, you’re no closer to finding answers to your questions: What salary bump can you expect when your company raises a Series C? Does a move from a public company to a growing startup make sense? And most importantly, what are your former colleagues making at their tech jobs?

While we can’t speak for your old co-workers (we take confidentiality seriously), our latest analysis contains comprehensive, anonymized data on GC and CLO salaries across tech companies of every size and industry.

So you can go ahead and close those tabs — we’ve got the data you’ve been searching for.

Key Takeaways:

  • Data is king in salary negotiations, and L Suite members often use this data to achieve comp increases.

  • For private company GCs and CLOs, overall median base salary is $300,000, and overall median total cash comp is $350,000.

  • Bonus amounts have trended upward, from ~20% in 2018 to closer to ~30% in 2024.

  • In each year since 2017, median total cash comp for GCs has increased between $15,000 and $40,000 year over year, with the largest increase between 2021 and 2022.

  • Overall median equity for private company GCs is 0.3% for 2024. Equity value doubled between 2021 and 2023 but stayed flat for 2024.

  • Public company GC compensation is highly correlated to market cap, with a median total cash comp of approximately $550,000.

  • Notable perks trending up include guaranteed severance, CLE budget, executive coaching budget, remote work, and early exercise.

Data is King in Salary Negotiations

Independent, unbiased data is the most effective tool you can have in a salary negotiation. Using The L Suite’s detailed report and interactive dashboard, our members can narrow in on a custom, highly tailored peer data set using over a dozen variables (company size, experience, geography, industry, and more) and make a compelling case for compensation adjustments when appropriate.

Get the full report and dashboard access by applying for membership to the L Suite community today.

I used (The L Suite) TechGC’s compensation report to negotiate a significant comp increase – well worth the membership fee on its own!

Member, The L Suite | TechGC

General Counsel Compensation at Private Companies

Our private company report assessed 879 survey responses from our members who are executives with GC or CLO titles.

Private Company GC Base Salary and Total Comp

Among GCs at US-based private companies, annual base salaries range from $250,000 (25th percentile) to $340,000 (75th percentile), with a median of $300,000. Total compensation for these professionals spans from $292,500 (25th percentile) to $429,488 (75th percentile) with a median of $350,000 and fluctuates by company maturity, among other factors. Notably, Series D total cash compensation is up 7% year over year from 2023 to 2024.

As expected, base salary increases with years of work experience, with significant boosts after 10 years. Compensation also jumps significantly at the 200- and 300-employee mark, signaling an opportunity to revisit compensation at those milestones.

Private Company GC Bonuses

Bonuses are a key component of general counsel salaries, with 69.6% of respondents receiving an annual bonus. This is comparable to the previous year despite headwinds for tech companies in 2023. Over the past several years, bonus amounts have trended upward, from approximately 20% in 2018 to nearly 30% in 2024.

L Suite Compensation Survey Private Company Bonus Pie Charts

Private Company GC Equity

Equity plays a significant role in legal professionals’ compensation packages, with 70.5% of respondents at private companies receiving equity in the form of stock options. Equity value doubled between 2021 and 2023 but stayed flat for 2024, with the median equity for GCs at private companies at 0.3%.

L Suite Compensation Survey Private Company Equity Pie Chart

Equity comp tends to decrease for professionals at more mature companies. Those who work at bootstrapped organizations or private equity-backed firms may be less likely to receive equity.

General Counsel Compensation at Public Companies

Our data also analyzed 110 survey responses from GCs and CLOs at public companies.

Public Company GC Base Salary and Total Comp

Public company GC salaries in 2024 ranged from $300,000 (25th percentile) to $435,000 (75th percentile), with a median of $375,000. Total compensation stretched from $416,000 (25th percentile) to $667,000 (75th percentile), with a median of $544,700. Location, respondents’ years of experience, and especially the company’s size by market capitalization influenced these numbers.

Public Company GC Bonuses

A total of 91.8% of respondents receive annual bonuses based on individual and company performance. The median target bonus is 50%, though that percentage increases with higher market capitalization.

L Suite Compensation Survey Public Co Bonus Pie Chart

Public Company GC Equity

The majority of respondents (51.8%) receive RSUs/restricted stock for equity compensation. Among this cohort, more than half (54.4%) say the RSUs are time-based. Respondents holding a CLO title command a significant premium in equity valuation compared to those with a GC title.

We saw the highest equity valuations among respondents who work in the privacy/cybersecurity, transportation, and fintech sectors, while media/entertainment saw the lowest median value.

General Counsel Compensation at Venture Capital Firms

Legal professionals working at VC firms face unique compensation considerations, especially given the rarity of these roles. Our report compiled data from 123 survey responses from GCs, CLOs, or equivalent positions in this arena.

VC GC Base Salary and Total Comp

GCs at funds are typically compensated higher than their counterparts at operating companies, with a median base salary of $440,000, median total comp of $600,000, as well as significant carry.

Crossover funds lead the pack in terms of total compensation, but respondents working at traditional VC funds report the highest maximum compensation levels.

VC GC Bonuses

More than three-quarters (76.4%) of respondents receive an annual bonus, with 46.8% receiving an amount in the range of $50,000-$250,000 during last year’s bonus cycle.

VC GC Carry

Almost all respondents’ funds pay carry. The percentage of carry decreases as the fund size increases, with a median of 1.5% across all funds.

General Counsel Benefits Trends

The majority of tech general counsels receive 401K with match, paid parental leave, health and wellness benefits, and an employee stock purchase plan. Notable perks trending up include guaranteed severance, an executive coaching budget, remote work, and early exercise. Eighty percent receive a personal CLE budget, and more than 86% of respondents’ companies cover the full cost of their L Suite membership.

Get the Full Report and Interactive GC Compensation Dashboard

Understanding salary data can help you make more informed decisions and negotiate more competitive compensation. L Suite members have access to our comprehensive reports, including:

  • Expected bonus compensation by stage of company and percentage of base salary

  • Salary data in top metro areas, including New York, San Francisco, and Boston

  • Compensation breakdowns by years of experience, job title, industry, number of employees, number of lawyers, funds raised, company stage, and more

  • Equity compensation percentages and equity valuation by stage of company

  • Data on benefits packages

  • Comprehensive salary and equity breakdowns for private and public companies and venture capital funds

Members can also filter and sort a custom cash and equity data set on our proprietary dashboard by years of experience, industry, company size, geography, industry, and more.

The L Suite's Interactive Compensation Dashboard

The L Suite Compensation Dashboard

Get the full report and dashboard access by applying for membership to the L Suite community today.